Initially, Smith Rock Brewing will rely on a small 25-gallon system to make beer for customers at its Northwest Seventh Street pub, where traditional locally sourced pub fare will also be for sale, said Natalie Patterson, brewmaster and one of four partners in the company.
Later, the company would like to increase production and start distributing to restaurants and stores with a larger system off-site, Patterson said. But that doesn’t mean people should expect Smith Rock to turn into a large-scale brewer distributing in multiple states.
“We’re probably going to stay small for quite a while,” Patterson said. “We may expand, but I don’t think we’ll ever get that big. We’ll keep it a little bit more local.”
Smith Rock should open in early November, she said.
Smith Rock plans to brew beer that tastes different from what other brewers make, Patterson said.
“I really want to experiment a lot of with hops and be able to bring that into the community,” she said.
“I know a lot of people are interested in a lot of the new hop varieties out there, and that’s something that I’d like to share with people.
“I think the fact that we’re small and we can do a lot of experimental beers, it’s going to give us a huge opportunity to try a lot of different things and let people participate.”
A black India pale ale, a pale ale and a brown ale will be available at first, she said.
The original plan for Smith Rock was to run the brewery on property two of the partners, Danielle and Kevin Stewart, own northeast of Redmond. But they encountered issues with the septic system, so the partners decided to add the brewery to the pub, which they originally wanted to introduce later, Patterson said.
At 0.8 barrels, this is definitely a nanobrewery operation (which is the current trend), and may conceivably be called a “large homebrewing” setup, one I’d definitely be interesting in seeing.
At any rate, they seemed to sneak in completely under the radar. But I’m looking forward to trying it out after they get up and running.
As the Bulletin article also mentioned, this will put the number of Central Oregon breweries at 17 when it opens (not counting Worthy and others yet), and 4 for Redmond (the first three being Cascade Lakes, Phat Matt’s, and Shade Tree Oregon), which altogether gives a per-capita brewery number of 9431 people per brewery for Deschutes County (which right now covers all the Central Oregon breweries); with Bend at 7082 people per brewery at Redmond at 6661 people per brewery when the fourth one opens.
As if it needed to be pointed out again, beer in Central Oregon is booming!